Monday, June 27, 2011


Panels-over-top-treatment is a look that is new to me, and I'm totally loving it!  This is the third time this year we've done panels over, and there is another such project coming up next month.  
The faux-hobbled valance is 179" wide, hinged in the middle.  We used Firm-A-Flex for the front to keep the weight down.  Ant-trail stapling creates the folds.  (That's a lot of staples!)

The horizontal stripe is sophisticated and works perfectly as inverted box pleat panels, which are attached with velcro to the dustboard.  They are lined in a dusty brown super-sheer voile to give substance and soft definition to the pleats.  Everything was hand-sewn.

To keep the corner uncluttered, the adjacent window is treated with a relaxed Roman shade under the faux-hobbled valance.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hobbles everywhere lately

Ah, a 118" fabric for a hobbled shade, AND I had some 108" lining sitting here- what a treat to make this wide hobbled shade without seaming widths together!

Such a nice fabric to work with... I'm not sure of the fiber content: it feels like it has rayon in it, but it could be blended with silk or cotton.  It was woven perfectly so it was easy to have the pattern match on all the hobbles.  

Because it has a cord lock, I opted not to use encased cord tape, which is my usual first choice for hobbled shades; but without a clutch, I would have wasted a LOT of encased cord tape running the strings across the width of the shade.  Instead, I made the shade the old-fashioned way with twill tape and rings, and shrouded the cord with ladder tape. 

A little self-fabric flap wrapped around the returns hides the mechanism.  I started using a new way of attaching the flaps so they don't add bulk to the top of the board- they are stapled to the front board face under the shade, wrapped taut around the return, and stapled to the back of the board.  With this method they don't stick out like wings quite so much.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fussy Work

There have been a few projects lately that have required some "fussy work."  Here are a few little details that I enjoyed:

The front......
A laundry room rod pocket curtain needed to clear part of the washing machine, so we made a cut-out and bound the edge with a facing.  The 1/2" hem was topstitched all around. 

The back.....

When we cut this shade down to size, there was just enough left over to use for the mount board cover, so the trim continues up over the board, a nice detail that probably no one will ever notice!

This metallic & cotton fabric was 54" wide, and so was the shade finished width.  We made a self bias binding to finish the edge instead of piecing the fabric.

Rings and loop cord shroud was a very unobtrusive way to meet the safety standards for this unlined, sheer shade.

Another metallic cotton sheer shades was self-lined, hand-hemmed, and strung with rings and loop cord shroud in a blending color.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gathered London shade valances

Gathered London shade valance

Gathered London shades need to be planned a little differently from regular London shades. 

A perfect pleated London shade
The fullness in London shades is controlled by the pleats.  The fabric is flat across the shade and all the fullness is in the pleats,  You can make a deep pleat without excessive drooping, because the pleats contain all the fullness.  When gathers are what you want, the fullness must be reduced considerably to achieve the London shade silhouette without bagging.

Way too full!  yuck

Exactly one year ago I had a bad experience with 4 gathered London shades.  It didn't help that there was a double ruffle in the bottom, which added weight and caused an even more pronounced "droopy drawers" look.  Thinking these should be made at the same fullness as a balloon shade, the designer specified 2.5x fullness.  Naively, I complied.  As you can see, that was clearly way too much.   I took them apart and cut out a lot of fabric to end up with 1.5x fullness.  Of course I forgot to photograph the remake.  

Double gathered London shade valance
Wiser now, I planned these gathered Londons, one single and one double, with just under 1.5x fullness.  There wasn't enough fabric to allow a lot of extra folds at the bottom, and I was afraid that in the centers of the swoops, the few folds would flatten out, but with the 1.3x fullness that didn't happen, and I think the gathering is ample enough.

Here's one more from last winter: 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ordinarily we love this popular fabric.   We've used it for shades as well as cafe curtains.  But this last batch was a nightmare- so irregularly pleated that the horizontal lines were off by as much as 3" on one shade.

To straighten it somewhat we had to do a lot of manipulation from the wrong side.  It improved somewhat but was far from perfect.  

At the bottom, trim can be used to disguise a wobbly line, but this trim is so narrow that it didn't serve that purpose very well.

The weight bar is 3" up from the bottom in its own pocket.  Below it, the bottom refused to hang straight.  A wooden slat helped keep the bottom taut.  

But the slat kept wanting to hike up.  So I took little tacks through all the layers just above the slat, hiding the thread under the pleats in the front.  They helped to hold the slat in place.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A well-behaved fabric

It's such a treat when a client chooses a fabric and treatment style that are compatible. 

When I first started working in this industry, 25 years ago, drapery fabrics were cotton prints.  The big boom in silk was yet to come, no one thought of using upholstery fabrics on windows, and nobody asked for their sheers to be blackout lined.
This cotton print behaves perfectly as a Sheffield valance. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sadly, this is one window treatment I'll never see in its new home, not even a photograph.  It's a Sheffield valance for a bay window, which has cabinets that intrude into the mounting area.  The three mitered dustboards are flat across the whole valance, but beyond the cutout area, boards extend upwards, sort of like an upside down cornice board, and the valance is attached to the 3/4" part of the board.

A self-microcord was secured with double-sided adhesive tape, to make it easy to control and adjust; then the dustboard cover was stapled over it and down over the back.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cord Shroud Tape

I like to make hobbled shades with the cord shroud tape from Rowley.  It serves two purposes at once- it hobbles the shade, and shrouds the lift cord.

 It can be sewn on entirely by machine.  I use my little domestic Juki which automatically cuts the thread at the tap of my finger, so I barely even need to use scissors.  I sew back and forth on one side, then raise the needle and sew back and forth on the other side, leaving the lift cord free.

When I cut my tapes for this shade I wasn't thinking, and cut them all to the finished length, so when ready to string, I didn't have enough lift cord to carry across the top as the operating cords.  This is easy to fix without doing the tapes over again.  Just tie some new cord to the bottom with a small but secure knot;

and gently pull from the top to feed the new cord through, allowing enough to carry across and down the other side.

This works for all the other shroud products as well: mesh tube shroud, ladder tape, or cord loop shroud.  I've had to do it with them all, one time or another, either because I cut them too short, or because I "lost" the cord inside the shroud.